The most useful thing I learned

It’s 2 months and a half since I’m in Nepal, working together with TUDE team and the other 3 foreign volunteers. We have learned many things about recycling and reuse also theoreticlaly as well as practically.

Out of all, it was the first time that I heard about “zero waste lifestyle” and the first time I weaved a basket in a manner close to the one used by locals. Im very interested on “zero waste lifestyle and I’m looking to improve my relation with the shopping and reusing the old products I have. It is a bit of a challenge since I don’t have a place that I could call my own where I could create a proper environment for such a way of living, but at least it made me look more thoroughly into something that I was already living.

On the other side, weaving baskets is something I wanted to do for a long time. Since I’m more of a nature person and I enjoy collecting wild plants, working with natural resources, i try to learn how to interact with wild life and so on, weaving baskets is one of the basic skills needed to organize life in nature.

Making a basket is not difficult, but it’s important to have the opportunity to see it being done and to try it.

You begin by making spokes out of newspaper. This is done by rolling the newspaper in a spiral manner on a knitting niddle. The process starts with a base of 4 spokes divided in 2 and interwoven with other 4 spokes divided in 2, thus creating the basis for a checkers pattern. The first reed is glued to a spoke and weaved through the 2x2 pattern. When the reed tube finishes we screw in it’s end another reed and continue weaving, but this time we take and weave through each spoke (4 on a side). After a few rounds we can start thinking of the shape we want to end up with. We can create it freehand or use a bowl or a shape to put on top of the already created base to trace it’s shape. When done we close the weaving by weaving the spokes backwards – each spoke once inside-outside-inside and down.

To create a handle we take four paper tubes – we use them two by two. We introduce two between the rows of the basket three rows from up. We bend them in half upwards. We do the same with the remaining two paper tubes on the opposite side. We take the paper tubes on one side – we obtained 4 by folding them a half and with another paper tube we weave horizontally forward and back until we are satisfied with the height. We do the same on the other side. We need to have left part of the paper tubes to unite them and thus to close the handle. We overlap the remainings of each side and we start with another paper tube to make half hitch knots until we conclude the upper part and we secure the last paper tube in one of the weaved sides.

The painting of the basket has double importance. One is the fact that color mixed with glue strengthens the resistance of the basket and second it embellishes the final work.

As always reading makes it seem complicated and seeing it makes it interesting and more simple.

Dragos Balanuic

[For others photo please read this previous post]